Our training and facilitation collective is making a podcast! We will interview UK-based social movement organisers about their work and how they do it, along with doing a good chunk of geeking out about the different tools in our training toolbox.
Kat: So this is the Resist+Renew podcast. Resist Renew is a facilitation collective based in the UK. I’m Kat, I don’t want to go first in the intros, so can someone else take it?
Ali: My name is Ali, I use he/him pronouns. What brought me to facilitation is taking part in a course which I didn’t like, and then creating a study group out of it and doing self learning style stuff, DIY learning collectively. And my favourite emoji is the grimace emoji, but I think of it as like a cheesy Chandler from friends smile.
Sami: Adorable. My name is Sami, I use the pronouns she and her. I got into facilitation. because as anybody that’s ever been in a meeting with me will know I have an almost physical inability to sit in meetings that are aggravating, and that are not facilitated in a way that is like participatory. And I also went to a great training run by the facilitation collective called Seeds for Change, like 15 years ago, which really motivated me. And my favourite emoji. Yes, audio. Is so, like of all of the star emojis, there’s the one that’s like the three stars. Sometimes they’re multicoloured, but sometimes they’re all like yellow, but they’re always different sizes. I sometimes use it for like bullet points and whatsapps because I love it so much.
Kat: Beautiful. My name is Kat. I use she/her pronouns. And I got into facilitation through experiencing a really transformative process and admiring the magic that those facilitators managed to weave and wanting to know how to do it and realising along the way that it’s not magic, but I’m still learning. And in terms of my favourite emoji, it’s the face with the little heart eyes. I really like it.
Sami: It’s a classic. Okay, so we are recording a podcast? What’s going on with that?
Sami: Thanks, seamless. This is you can tell we’re pros. This is what gives it away.
Ali: So why don’t we start by saying a few reasons why we’ve decided to record a podcast together.
Sami: We are doing this partly because we, as a facilitation collective talk to a lot of groups who do a lot of cool stuff, and, and want to uplift the work of the groups that we like talk to, work with and organise around. And that’s a reason.
Ali: Another reason is that we This podcast is gonna focus on how organising happens and digging into like, talking to some exciting groups, but also like chatting about how they do what they do. And because it’s hidden, it can seem a bit mysterious or mystical. And it’s actually really practical. And hopefully people will want to do more, and be able to do more and get involved more if they hear some stories.
Kat: And this podcast is also specifically for people who want to be organising in the UK. And so we’re going to be talking with groups that are organising here, and specifically within their political context of the UK. And there aren’t actually that many podcasts that we found that are talking about social movements that are based here, there’s loads of great stuff coming out of the US. But we have a different political context here. So it feels important to acknowledge that and share some of the stories from movements that are based here.
Sami: And then in terms of like, why a podcast specifically? Because the kind of chats we want to have, like we want to get a little bit deep in terms of like, why they do what they do, where they focus on what they focus on to kind of create a blog post that would cover that amount of detail, it would be a very long blog post. So trying to get the depth that we want there in a format that makes it a bit more like engaging and dynamic and chatty.
Ali: Nice. So in this podcast, we’re gonna be interviewing, like, on our first series, we’re interviewing seven different groups, we’ve got a bunch of different topics, what kind of things we’re going to be talking about? Got like prison abolition, state violence, what else?
Kat: Healing justice and land justice. A couple of other topics, we’re going to be talking through.
Sami: Stuff around like community organising and the power of art, and stuff around class. And then stuff around like kind of race, racism, racial justice.
Ali: Great, and on top of that, because we want to talk about like the how and like the practical stuff, and because we’re facilitation nerds, we’re also gonna do a mini podcast which will be like 15 minutes which is called the toolbox. That’s going to be like, how to do meetings better or how to run workshops. So we’re going to talk about stuff like facilitation, and we’re going to talk about fish bowls. And what else?
Sami: Conflict icebergs, I’m deliberately picking things that sound really obtuse. If you don’t know what they are, you have to listen to the mini podcast, and spectrum lines.
Kat: And we’re also going to be talking about things like check ins and why you might use them or not and icebreakers. And we have a controversial episode coming up for you on hand signals. So you definitely want to check that one out.
Sami: waving hands or not, yes, no, who knows?
Kat: So why are we talking about these particular topics? And why are we looking at these particular tools?
Sami: I guess partly because we want to and the kind of context that we organise in there’s quite a few facilitation collectives in the UK. Our focuses quite a lot on working with very like, I guess, quite grassroots groups and working on like, where are a lot of our like organising background kind of comes is specifically organising, working with groups that have quite a, like, fundamental critique of the current system, quite a radical agenda, and really trying to like, push the boat on some of those, like, deeper critiques.
Ali: And I guess that feeds into kind of the analysis that goes into this. Like, you could have podcasts or discussions around race or community organising or land that would be quite liberal. But I guess what we want to bring is more of that structural critique. And yeah, focus on groups which have quite radical agendas, as Ssmi was saying before.
Sami: And in terms of who we do this for. What, who we’re doing it for nerds, geeks, nerds, that was our like, internal language that we’ve been using around like facilitation nerds, organising nerds.
Kat: And I guess we’re also doing it for social movement people. So people who are getting involved in grassroots groups, in community organising, in mutual aid stuff, to find out more about groups that are organising in the UK, and also to learn some of the skills or start hearing about some of the skills and tools that they could use in their own organising as they get more involved.
Sami: *clicks fingers*
Ali: It’s for people in the UK who are interested in this stuff in social movements, and shifting things to a better, better way. And at the time of recording, all of us are based in the south of England, but by the time this comes out, that might have been true, so probably won’t be true. c And we will want to not have too much for London centric agenda, although several of our interviewees are from London. We a little a little bit do, but not entirely.
Sami: The classic London illusion of like, well, there’s one person that’s not from London, and they’re organising. So worth noting where we’re from. Vibe, what’s the vibe, pick your favourite vibe word, vibe.
Ali: From this trailer, you should be able to tell that we’re not super serious, we’re a bit flippant, we’re a bit like not profesh. And trying to have a bit of fun with it. Because this stuff is like if we’re talking about prisons, and violence that can be a bit heavy, and it is going to be like deep, but not, we’re not just like diving straight into trauma and horrible mess.
Kat: Yeah, we’re trying to hold it in a way that people want to get more involved. And that’s going to be the kind of vibe that we’re bringing. So it’s going to be informative, but not to earnest.
Sami: Someone once described something that I did as irreverent. And I feel like that’s a vibe I want to channel. Irreverent.
Kat: And for those of us who don’t know what that word means?
Sami: I think it basically means – I don’t really know – I just like the sound of it. There used to be a dance company called irreverent dance. This is a nice name. Irreverent, I guess I think I mean, I think the impolite version is it means not respectful, but I think it means not respectful, but in a way that’s good, rather than the pejorative thing that that kind of implies.
Ali: So yeah, that hopefully gives you a bit of an idea of what we’re putting together, how we kind of got to be and some of the topics we’re going to talk about. Hope that sounds interesting. Check out the podcast next week when the first episode comes out. See you there.
Music by Kareem https://m.soundcloud.com/kareemsamaramusic/taqasim
Transcribed by https://otter.ai, with additional edits from kat.